Did you know your belly is your second brain?
The belly is our true centre which in Shiatsu is called Hara.
This is where digestion happens but our belly can do a lot more: It also contains a nervous system which scientists call the enteric nervous system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enteric_nervous_system ) or second brain. It exchanges information with our brain regularly, sending more information to the brain than the other way round. Wellbeing and discomfort, emotions and intuitions, joy and sorrow are all located in our belly. Our digestive health influences our mood and at the same time, negative emotions can cause symptoms in your stomach.
So a healthy digestive system has a huge influence on our psyche!
Here are a few simple tips which can help to strengthen your digestive system:
1. Don’t rush while you are eating!
A relaxing atmosphere activates the parasympathetic nervous system which releases the digestive enzymes and activates absorption. If possible, try to eat in silence at least once in a while. Regular activity or stress while eating activates the sympathetic nervous system, which inhibits the digestive functions. If you regularly eat while doing other things at the same time, it will have an impact on your digestion.
2. Take a few deep breaths before eating.
This also activates the parasympathetic nervous system and supports digestion.
3. Chew each mouthful thoroughly.
Chewing mixes food with saliva, activates digestive secretions and prepares the stomach for the next stage of the process. It also prevents feeling bloated and you will find that you actually eat less if you chew well.
4. Give your solar plexus a massage
Massages are highly effective when dealing with digestive problems. The solar plexus is the energetic centre of the middle organs and upper digestive organs. Bad eating habits can cause the organs around the solar plexus to get clogged up by fats and toxins over time which can weaken the whole digestive system. The massage helps to activate the digestive energy.
Technique: Using your finger tips, do a circular massage in the solar plexus area directly below the centre of the rib cage. Progressively penetrate deeper as you rotate 10- 12 times. Repeat, rotating the massaging motion in the opposite direction. Try this circular massage after you wake up and before and after each meal.